I trained in beauty therapy after school & worked in the sector whilst completing teacher training, before moving into education full time. I combined my interest in this area with my teaching of Key Skills (English, Maths & ICT) in a London beauty therapy college for over ten years and now work in the staff development team a university.
I had a lovely morning at the Thames Spa after booking a two-for-one package through Wahanda. I can't say it was easy getting booked in as they seem to get busy quickly and the reception is not always manned and a couple of emails I sent were not responded to but those were the only problems I had and when I did get through, they were very helpful.
We got a little lost driving there, as it is rather tucked away, but the staff were helpful when we called to explain we'd be a few minutes late and we were made welcome by the reception staff in the club entrance and in the spa. During this time, one of the helpful beauty therapists came to chat to us and explain the programme for our session, the facilities available and their location, We both opted to avoid the gym and headed for the swimming pool instead. The changing area was spacious, clean and well laid out with all the items you might require, even hairbands to wear in the pool!
The pool was nice and quiet on the Friday morning we chose to visit, with just four or five others, some swimming lengths and others just enjoying the water. I have to admit we didn't swim much but soon headed for the steam room and sauna, which were well maintained and really hot. A regular user of the club's facilities told us how much he liked it there and what a great club he thought it was.
We changed out of our swimwear into the slippers and gowns provided, had a late breakfast, which was very tasty, in the club's restaurant and then headed to the spa. The therapists were professional and friendly and explained everything well, so we knew what we had to do and felt comfortable. The massage was carried out in a shared room and the facials in separate rooms. The products (Pevonia, I think) were very nice and made my skin feel lovely; I wouldn't have minded learning a bit more about them and the treatment from the therapist, actually, and the massage was soothing and relaxing.
The whole experience was excellent and well worth the money and a bit of a journey to get there. I'd definitely go back there if it wasn't for the fact that there are so many places I'm longing to try!
It was a real treat to relax in the hammam, be exfoliated by the professional therapists working there and finish up with a delicious meal in the hotel restaurant. I really hope to go again before too long!
I was really looking forward to this after visiting a hammam during a trip to Istanbul but at the same time was a little nervous that it might not live up to my expectations, especially as I was taking my mum along as a treat whilst she was visiting me in London for the weekend. We both work in the health and beauty industry, so our expectations are fairly high! In fact, I needn't have worried at all; we had excellent service throughout and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We arrived rather early, feeling a bit worn out after a long day dashing around London and were made welcome by the reception staff with delicious Turkish tea provided as we waited and relaxed in the reception area. During this time, one of the friendly massage therapists came to chat to us and explain the services that were available if we wanted exfoliation, massage or a mask application during our session. The treatments were well explained and good advice provided without any pressure to buy. We opted for the full body exfoliation, carried out with a coarse mitt.
We changed in the area adjacent to the hammam, where we found a couple in the process of dressing following their session. Now, this was the only aspect of the session where I could suggest a small improvement; a unisex hammam is fine by me but a unisex changing room is perhaps taking things a bit too far! Also there were no keys available for the lockers, although our belongings were fine during our session.
We sat and steamed away peacefully for a while before two therapists wearing traditional Turkish towels arrived. They explained the procedure before carrying out a thorough exfoliation on our skin, rinsing us off with alternately warm and cool water and coating us with foam created by blowing up a pillowcase soaked in warm soapy water and squeezing the air through it. The male therapists were both very professional and carried out the treatment thoroughly and effectively but without making us feel at all uncomfortable.
After changing, we went to eat in the restaurant, which serves a variety of central Asian dishes. On a trip to Russia I had seen that Kazakh food is very popular there and wanted to try it but had not found a Kazakh restaurant there that served vegetarian food. Here there was no problem; pretty much each dish on the menu had a vegetarian equivalent. I had a salad starter, some delicious vegetable dumplings served with a tasty chilli dip and soured cream and crispy baklava to finish. Sitting on the raised ledge with cushions at a low table with delicious food was a perfect way to finish the evening, rather than dashing straight back out in the cold. They even had a singer performing as everyone ate.
Following the treatment I felt very relaxed and my skin was fantastically smooth for days afterwards. I need to get one of those mitts!